You’ve known all along that rumors of e-mail’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. It’s still the workhorse of online marketing. Check out our experts’ insights on everything from copywriting to deliverability.

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Moving From Static To Dynamic: Building Relationship-First Email Creative

Modules In the past, when email marketers noticed a drop in audience engagement, they would increase the volume of email sends, trying to win the attention deficit game by increasing frequency. But this strategy just doesn't work anymore. With the increased usage of mobile devices, smart phones and multi-channel social streams, your customers (or potential customers) now have a wealth of information available at their fingertips around the clock. In fact, it's estimated that three out of four Americans under the age of 35 now check their smart phone or mobile device before even getting out of bed [...]

Merchandising For Email Marketing — Selecting Products and Promotions

How do you decide what products to feature in your emails or which offers to promote in your emails? If you don’t have a process in place that answers these questions, you should. Merchandising for email should be a collaborative process for optimal results. Setting The Promotional Calendar The promotional calendar should be developed with the E-Commerce Manager, Email Marketing Manager, and Product Merchandisers. Any additional, relevant associates should be included, as well. For example, the Mobile Marketing Manager might be a different individual; or, you may have a Brand or Loyalty Ma [...]

After You Capture A Lead, What Comes Next?

Example7_CustomerTestimonial Congrats on generating some awesome leads for your sales team! Now what? As marketers, our primary responsibility is to generate qualified leads for sales. However, our job doesn’t stop immediately after we get the leads in the door. Answering the “Now what?” question can be tricky. Just because someone downloaded your ebook or subscribed to your blog doesn’t mean they are ready for your sales team -- in fact, Gleanster Research (pdf download) found that 50% of leads are qualified, but not ready to buy just yet. Effective lead nurturing campaigns can help you move your leads through [...]

Hiring The Email Designer

Best practices and smart tactics go a long way, but the most important part of any successful marketing program – email or otherwise – is building the right team. So, what do you look for when hiring an email designer? Here’s a short list of key factors to help ensure you have the right folks on the job. Web Design Experience This first point is an easy but important one. The pool of applicants who will come in the door with the right email experience already in place is small; so, make sure your potential hire has front-end Web design experience, which will allow them to wear multi [...]

When Subscribers Stop Opening Emails

As you continue to send marketing emails over time, your list continues to grow, and your engagement metrics continue to drop. Over time, the number of long-time subscribers on your list increases. These subscribers have a higher chance of becoming uninterested in your email messages, which they express by failing to open or click. This growing population of unengaged subscribers causes the overall metrics of your emails to drop. So What? ISPs are monitoring email engagement metrics and making decisions based on this. If your subscribers are less engaged than a competitor's, then your email [...]

4 Reasons I Love Designing Email

[caption id="attachment_34076" align="alignright" width="300"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] The Valentine’s holiday had me wearing the customary rose-tinted glasses and thoroughly enjoying it, from the candy to the life adventures (our first daughter was born the in wee hours of the 14th). [Editor's note: Congrats, Chris!] It was a reminder, too, that email design is often discussed only in the context of its big brother (Web design) or as an enabler of the great marketing panacea (optimization). We spend a lot of time talking only about challenges in email design, but we can do be [...]

Forget Opens: The Stat You Really Need To Track Is Sales

Too many email marketers are focusing on opens. By "opens," I mean open rates, the ratio of people who receive a marketing email to those who actually open it. [caption id="attachment_32689" align="alignright" width="278"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] Opens are a very popular stat to track, talk about and try to increase. It's great to do those things, but opens aren't the stat that needs the most focus. There is another stat that deserves far more attention, because it shows you if your campaign is doing its job and earning its keep. But Opens Are Important! Yes, they are. If [...]

Four Ways Facebook Can Increase Email Sales

A successful retail email campaign involves much more than just an email. Because it creates customer engagement and results in revenue, a successful email campaign aligns closely with social and e-commerce, resulting in a “trifecta” across all three channels. But, integrating social is more than just asking your subscribers to fan you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter or Pinterest. It requires effectively communicating the value proposition and integrating social as part of the shopping experience. Following are four approaches to successfully interweave email, Facebook and e-commer [...]

Corralling Email Content To Create Value

[caption id="attachment_31999" align="alignright" width="270"] Image via[/caption] There are a lot of supposed monarchies when it comes to email marketing. Depending on the conversation, content rules one day, the user holds the crown on the next, and data picks up responsibilities on weekends. With that many claims to the throne, you’d think messaging would be easier! In reality, they’re multiple facets of the same challenge: aligning content to balance sender and subscriber needs. So, how should we think about constructing messages that a subscriber finds intere [...]

Mythbusting: Video In Email

As a Creative Director, my workday often revolves around crafting and optimizing email communications for big brands. So, I’m always intrigued when new technologies come along that allow me to put another tool in my kit. One of the most exciting developments to come along recently has been the use of video in email. Not the spoofed playback buttons overlaid on a static image, or even animated gifs that simulate video, but honest-to-goodness sound and motion video played directly in a recipient’s inbox. Why is this development so exciting? Well, email is a very brief and fleeting medi [...]

Email Marketing Equals Dollar Signs

Open and click-through rates are common metrics used to evaluate the success of email campaigns. But we all know that for retailers, revenue is what really matters. Like every other department in an organization, as the new year begins (or when your fiscal year ends) marketers are requesting and competing for budget. As you prepare, use the following email revenue metrics to help prove your case. Campaign Revenue How much money did you generate on your e-commerce site from a particular email send? Knowing this requires that your emails are appropriately tagged for your online analytics t [...]

Choose The Best Responsive Email Layout For Your Message

The concept of responsive email has entered into the industry consciousness, though the actual deployment is still far from common. Still, enough senders are experimenting with the technique, and we’re beginning to see patterns in layouts and organization. Any examination of responsive layout patterns must first point to the work of Luke Wroblewski. Wroblewski has written a wonderful series of posts on responsive layout patterns on the Web, which informs many ideas and images (the column drop, layout shifter and associated images port very directly from his web observations). His work is [...]

How To Integrate Pinterest Into Your Emails

dec_feature More than just a social hub to share images, Pinterest has become a lifestyle brand itself. Exuding a feeling of simple, clean, nearly dreamy -- dare I say aspirational -- moments of pleasure, it's actually influencing a new aesthetic style. In fact, one of the common complaints is how spellbinding the Pinterest experience becomes as users spend hours upon hours exploring content and seeking out new curators of style, inspiration and taste. Adopted primarily by women and at an astounding pace (at this rate there’ll soon be more people with Pinterest accounts than toothbrushes), it’s an [...]

Ensuring The Email Is Right Before Hitting Send

That moment before you click send on an email to millions of subscribers can really make you sweat, no matter how many times you’ve done it before. Once you hit send, it’s gone to the inbox, and the last thing you want to hear is “did that email go to everyone?” Confirming an email is accurate before it deploys is more than just proofreading and having a second set of eyes; it’s strictly following a well-defined process to ensure that you’re delivering a message that reflects well on your organization. On a rare occasion, mistakes will happen, but you need to constantly work [...]

Email Design Tip: The Fold & Your Call To Action

shutterstock_99478988-thefold Presentation is everything, they say. And this is especially true on the Internet, when your prospective customers can't physically handle your products or talk to you in person. What your readers see in the email you send (its layout and design) significantly impacts how they react to it; namely, whether or not they respond in a way you'd want them to. So, when you really want them to react in a particular way (like taking a survey or buying your new product), your call-to-action should be designed and placed carefully. Why "The Fold" Can Help You Do This "The fold" is the bottom of y [...]

Learning By Example: 9 More Responsive Emails

A few months back, I wrote a post outlining four responsive emails and the tactics they applied to content. I've received significant feedback on that post, so I’m diving back in to show some more responsive emails from my inbox. There’s a range of ideas here, from beginner to advanced tricks. It’s important that we all be looking at examples of what’s happening in the space. There are few best practices established, and fewer quick fixes. The phrase “mobile optimization” is being tossed around a lot, but the idea is new enough that I don’t think we quite know what it means ye [...]

Mobile Email Marketing: Tips For The Holiday Season

mobile-email-featured 'Tis the season when the volume of email sends begins to soar. From Black Friday previews to last minute gift reminders, retailers are upping the ante on the number of messages being sent. This makes the inbox a crowded place to be. But that’s not news. What makes this retail holiday season special? This year over 30% of those messages will likely be read on some type of mobile device. So how do you ensure your message will stand out in the mobile inbox? Even if you haven’t been able to transition your emails into a responsive template or you’re waiting to roll out that new mobil [...]

Why Sending Receipts Via Email Is A Good Idea

I recently read an article about advances in the technology associated with printed receipts, their benefit as a transactional record, and the relative limits of moving to a hand-held transactional device. What that piece missed, however, was the huge value to retailers of emailing a receipt to customers who have made an in-store purchase.  There are many benefits to this triggered email, which, up until now, has not been widely embraced during the in-store checkout experience. 1. Acquisition If a customer chooses to receive their receipt via an email, your brand gains the opportunity to [...]

3 Basic Ways To Boost Sales By Targeting Emails

shutterstock_94513315-segmentation You already know how email marketing improves your sales by keeping you in front of your customers. But, if you're still only using email blasts to your whole list, you're missing out on an opportunity. You can increase your sales even more by taking time to target your audience with a technique called segmenting. Segmenting breaks your list into special groups of customers who you can email separately with hyper-relevant content. Some businesses have seen huge spikes in sales by targeting their customers this way. Here are three ways you can target your existing customers for a richer e [...]

Expanding Your Online Presence: The Email/Social Merge

EmergenC-FruitOGram You have email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Gentlemint, Spotify, Tumblr... literally dozens of networks to market on. You can reach an audience through any combination of the above. As an email marketer, you know that the most valuable connections happen in private email inboxes. But activity on social networks, where fans can share with friends who share with contacts, is more visible. Where To Market? Choose a social network or two to be present on (consider where your target demographic hangs out to help you choose). You'll only be able to share bits and snippets, [...]

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